Twenty-two year old Hannah Deal says she began baking at the age of three, and that throughout her childhood the worst punishment that her parents could inflict was to ban her from the kitchen. Later, at James Madison University, she says she dealt with stress by baking, and by her third year she had decided to turn her life-long habit into a career and go into the wedding cake business and eventually open a bakery.
Then, in the summer of 2017, she says a “mystery illness began taking things from me one by one.”
“One of the first steps I took in an attempt to manage my failing health was to cut common food allergens and inflammatories out of my diet,” says Deal. “ My trips to the grocery store soon became frustrating, as most everyday food items were loaded with sugar, dairy, soy or something else I wanted to avoid. One of my go-to snacks became homemade nut butter.”
That experience led her to launch Hannah's Homemade in June last year; an organic, gourmet nut and granola butter business catered towards people like her. Her products have little to no sugar and are free from dairy, gluten, peanuts and soy.
However, a month after launching her business Deal was diagnosed with Narcolepsy.
“Eight months later, I still have a lot to learn about the disease's management and continue to be tested for disorders unrelated to narcolepsy,” she says. “As the business grows and move into wholesale operations, my biggest hope is that my products and mission will spread public awareness of the autoimmunity and chronic illness epidemic while encouraging others to do what they can to help the cause.”
You’ll find Deal this Saturday, April 6 at the City Market and every other week after that. Her products are available at a few local Charlottesville stores and can be ordered online at www.hannahsbutters.com/.